Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Today’s post comes from multi-species angler and writer Ashley Rae of

One of the most beautiful bodies of water I have visited during my fishing trips so far is the French River.

This river is unique. The French River is made up of a massive network of interlocking channels that wind through the rock face of the Canadian Shield. To top it all off, it’s surrounded by the stunning rugged landscape of French River Provincial Park.

Beginning at Lake Nipissing, it flows 105 km southwest emptying into Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.

The French River is Canada’s first heritage river. As a result, the area is protected from future development. This preserves its spectacular natural beauty.

I obviously love it here, but I haven’t told you about the fishing yet!

fishing for the french

The French River is home to a wide variety of species including Muskie, Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike and many more.

I have visited here twice in the last two years and each experience was memorable.

Last year, while visiting my fishing buddy Eric, we explored the upper section of the river for a variety of species. We brought our Muskie gear with high hopes.

Eric cast a big Muskie tail and hooked a fish on the first few casts. As he cast me toward the net, the fish rolled across the surface confirming that it was indeed an elusive Muskie.

Unfortunately during the battle the fish became unbuckled. Excited to see a Muskie from the start, we were hoping to get another chance to see one of these beautiful toothy creatures.

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We focused on targeting Muskie for the rest of our visit. While we didn’t see any more activity, I caught a nice walleye on a big bait (called a Storm Jointed Flatstick).

We then changed course focusing on bass, fishing for both smallmouth and largemouth, and even some northern pike as well.

Although Eric’s Muskie didn’t make it to the boat, we both promised to visit the French River again. We certainly had a great time capturing a variety of species in such a beautiful environment.

mega muskie

This year we excitedly returned to the river and fished the lower section. Our experience was similar to last year, although this time I was the one who had some Muskie activity right away.

Casting a large ponytail around a submerged sandbar extending from an island, I had one of the largest Muskies I had ever seen follow my sword to the boat.

Without hesitation, I kept my lure in the water, extending my cast into a figure eight. The fish turned around and disappeared.

The excitement and adrenaline of seeing a fish this size is enough to get your heart rate up for a while afterwards. Moving along the sandbar, I had another follower with the same reaction.

Eric was next to follow in a big topwater (the Whopper Plopper), and he was also denied. We were impressed with how many Muskies we saw in a short time.

After Eric’s follow-up, he quickly switched to a gold and black bucktail, which turned out to be the right choice.

Making dreams come true

Just a few casts later, Eric had a fish! This time, his Muskie came to the boat and we were both ecstatic! A couple of quick photos and back to the river.

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I was so excited that Eric got his French River Muskie, as I’m sure he had been dreaming about one since last year.

The French River was the last Muskie activity during our trip, but we were grateful nonetheless. You know we’ll be back for more!

French river landscape

It’s an amazing river to explore, and we had a lot of fun getting into some nice Northern Pike and some lower ones too.

We can’t wait until our next visit!